BELLINGHAM - Linebacker Sam Olney quickly made sure the Squalicum football team would start 2012 with a win.
Olney's 32-yard interception return for a touchdown less than two minutes into the season gave the Storm early momentum as it went on to defeat Kingston 27-10 in a non-conference game on Friday, Aug. 31, at Civic Stadium.
"It gives us confidence," said Squalicum coach Reed Richardson, whose Storm squad opened up last season 0-4. "We are 1-0 this year. That's big."
Squalicum was able to increase its early lead after linebacker Nathan Kamkoff blocked a punt and Olney recovered the ball at the Kingston 32-yard-line. Six plays later, Brandon LeDoux took a draw up the middle for a 20-yard score and a 14-0 Storm lead in the first quarter.
Squalicum's defense held Kingston in check for most of the first half. Defensive back Blaze Yetter had an interception in the second quarter and nearly added a third when he picked off a pass in the end zone and returned it for 44 yards with 15 seconds left before halftime, but the play was reversed due to a pass interference call. Kingston kicked a field goal just before halftime to make it 14-3.
Defensively, the Storm was able to contain Kingston and didn't give up a play of more than 20 yards until midway through the fourth quarter.
"I just told (the defense) we are going to play Squalicum football," said Olney, whose touchdown was the first of his high school senior career. "The second they threw that rock I knew it was coming. First thing when I grabbed that ball I decided I was going - it was six (points) for sure."
The Storm came out in the second half and established the run in the third quarter behind running back Luke Weber.
LeDoux was the first to score in the second half on a 7-yard run for a 21-3 lead and Weber added another touchdown on a 3-yard run for a 27-3 lead in the third quarter. Weber, who had 24 yards at halftime, rushed for 70 yards in the second half as Squalicum's offense was on the field for 21 of the first 24 plays of the second half.
"We focused on running well in the second half and the line took over," Weber said.
Richardson said he told his offense to run the ball better in the second half.
"We wanted to establish ourselves as an offense and get into running our style," Richardson said. "They picked it up."
Weber finished with 94 yards rushing on 21 carries and a touchdown while LeDoux rushed for 55 yards on eight carries and two scores.
Squalicum opens its Northwest Conference 2A schedule next week when it plays at Sedro-Woolley.
Unlike the tough start to last season, Storm players walked off the Civic Field turf on Friday feeling good.
"Hopefully, it kicks off a good season," Weber said.
"The momentum is with us," Olney added.
Squalicum wide receiver/defensive back Landon Tripp missed the game with an arm injury. Richardson said he will have an MRI soon.
Kingston 0 3 0 7- 10
Squalicum 14 0 13 0- 27
Squ-Sam Olney 32 interception return (Quinn Carpenter kick)
Squ-Brandon LeDoux 20 run (Carpenter kick)
Kin-Colin Stone 21 FG
Squ-LeDoux 7 run (Carpenter kick)
Squ-Luke Weber 3 run (kick failed)
Kin-Nathan Carleton 18 pass from Henry Dwyer (Stone kick)
First downs 15 12
Rushing Att-Yards 44-197 34-156
Comp-Att-Int 5-13-2 5-13-0
Passing yards 51 69
Penalties-yards 5-33 9-64
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-1
RUSHING - Kingston: Nickolus Tabanera-Geras 26-103, Austin Ashworth 8-48, Henry English 7-35, Henry Dwyer 2-0, Aaron Dickson 1-11. Squalicum: Luke Weber 21-94, Brandon LeDoux 8-55, Mac Novak 3-11, Clark Hazlett 2(-4).
PASSING - Kingston: Henry Dwyer 5-13-2-51. Squalicum: Clark Hazlett 5-13-0-59.
RECEIVING - Kingston: Nathan Carleton 3-31, We-Laka Chiquiti 2-20. Squalicum: Ben Garcia 2-23, Kyle Stallo 1-23, Blaze Yetter 2-23.